If you are basing your suggestions re: fusion and costume on the veil dance video, well, I can understand why you would not consider it belly dancing, especially if you find it insipid. But it was just one of 6 or 8 dances that evening, most of which included quite a bit of belly dancing, and any other costume would have been inappropriate.please convey to her that in order to capture the spirit of belly dance, it really is necessary to use Middle Eastern music. Otherwise she is doing something else. If she WANTS to do something else, perhaps a different costume or something, in order to not confuse her audience, or an announcement saying that she is doing fusion??? .
I'm aghast. I think I saw your first public performance - at the MEDSOK concert three years ago. You were first in the line up, yes? The house was shaking with applause when you got done. I've seen you several times since then... Jo Hadley's workshops and MEDSOK concerts. Heard nothing but compliments for the pretty blonde in the beautiful costume and some relief that SOMEONE was still doing Egyptian-style dance..HI MAURA!!!!! (waves from the other side of the river!)
..I've had a couple of people tell me I have no business being on stage. ... I don't care. I've been told I'm not Egyptian enough and that I dance with an accent. Oh well.
I think it is far more of a veil dance than a belly dance. And it was never intended as an example of something excellent, just as part of a discussion with a young man who was afraid that non-MED music meant no attempt to improvise. My remarks in the original thread vis a vis a year's worth of work just beginning to yield magic moments (none of which are on video) was quite accurate. Moments, not hours. The band is beginning to understand that Ruric expects to perform with them, not dance to them. Ruric is beginning to understand what she can tease out and what she should leave alone. Give it another year. Right now it is often good entertainment, next year it may be real art.The only debate-able thing was related to THAT particular clip -- was it bellydance or something else?
me too. And I also like the music she USUALLY dances to, but it is not live, lady bug. The original thread, as I keep saying, was attempting to deal with the problems inherent in the reality of thousands of dancers vs. dozens of MED musicians....and that maybe the way to rectify that was to learn to dance to our indigenous music..Um, I like the Cirque du Rurique
Ruric-Amari is Ruric's 'Christian' name with a hypen added.. I got it out of a science fiction novel that I read while I was pregnant with her. Ruric Amari was the best swordswoman on that particular planet and resolute and steadfast in her convictions. She got herself exiled by the end of the book but was not disheartened. I thought her an excellent role model even though she was imaginary. Odd how Ruric's favorite prop ended up being a sword, though.Dear Shanazel,
I got so curious that I looked it up in my handy dandy dictionary. It seems there is a "Scandinavian Chief" ( Berserker???) who was named Rurik who lived about 880 AD and is considerd to be the founder of the first Russian Dynasty. Well, we were at least somewhat in the same neighborhood!
Well that's just stupid. ?? I improvised practically my whole Goth set, which certainly wasn't middle eastern, and actually I think it would be a lot easier to improvise to music you're culturally familiar with (like for me, 80's pop cause I grew up with it.) For ME personally, when I'm dancing to Egyptian music I feel like I have to choreograph everything from footwork to facial expression in order to accurately emulate a cultural dance that's not of my culture.just as part of a discussion with a young man who was afraid that non-MED music meant no attempt to improvise.
Oh, I JUST had that conversation with a drummer -- I never really made that distinction, having not really danced to live music before. I think that's a whole 'nother skill set, and frankly the thought of doing it terrifies me as much as excites me!The band is beginning to understand that Ruric expects to perform with them, not dance to them.
LOL!Except my MEDSOK minutes... don't criticize those... any criticism of those is DEFINATELY a sign of someone who doesn't understand my art...
Dear A'isha,Dear Group,
There are a couple pf points that I think need clarification. Many people think that those of us who believe that belly dance means something very specifically ethnic are against innovations in the dance.
The idea that one can only innovate by losing the ethnic essence of the dance is just way off base. I find that the native dancers from countries of origin DO innovate, and they do so without losing the basic spirit and feeling of the dance itself. Belly dance in its countries of origin is an evolving art, but because of the cultural connections, the dance retains its spirit and feeling. It is a dynamic art that moves in its own cultures and with them, taking up influences and putting their own unique ethnic spin on them..
RE the idea that authentic belly dancers do not improvise: MOST authentic dancers improvise. Even when they choreograph for a solo dance, that choreography is much different than the western idea of choreography. There is no such thing as a movement arrangement being locked in stone for them. The reason is because the music and the physical dancer and the emotional feeling of the moment that is the result of the combination of the two, is not going to be the same two times in a row. The physical body is another musical instrument that expresses the abstract cultural/emotional content of the music and manifests it visually, along with the feeling that the music gives the dancer. This can only be done when there is room for improvisation.
I've only read about half this conversation, but have to whole-heartedly agree with EVERYTHING you have written thus far. THANK YOU so very much for saying what some of us are thinking. There are not many dancers who even care about respecting or preserving the dance any more. Many kudos to you.
This is just to start everyone off again. I personally would include AmCab as Bellydance. Partly because there are not an inconsiderable number of people who consider themselves to dance, or have been considered by others to dance egyptian style, when they absolutely do not in my book. I won't name names at this juncture, though this might be fun later and I have seen them named in other threads.
There are many dancers who aim at egyptian and just don't get there. See my other post in dance styles. We don't have the equivalent of AmCab in the UK, or do we:? My first teacher advertised that she taught Egyptian dance, but when I saw an egyptian dancer, I was just blown away. I don't consider said teacher to be egyptian style, but she obviously does.
I have seen somewhere a quote from an Egyptian dancer who said somethig on the lines of The American dancers copied what they thought they saw and now we have new steps.
I have also heard that it is difficult to get real egyptian teaching in egypt as not only are the egyptians taking in more western influences, but they are teaching what they think westerners want to learn.
A'ishe said that egyptians can incorporate western influence without losing the egyptian esssence of the dance. This leads to a couple of further comments. If an egyptian dancer borrows a move from an AmCab dancer, is that move now bellydance.
Can I learn egyptian dance without transforming it into a western version?
If bellydance is to be defined as tightly as A'ishe does, who is to be the judge.
If someone tries passionately to copy egyptian style but just doesn't quite get it, are they trying to bellydance but only achieving AmCab. Does this make AmCab a lesser dance.
It is very interesting to me that we have had a long argument about whether the term bellydance can include AmCab without any attempt to look at what makes egyptian style, egyptian style.
But of course Amcab is exactly what the average westerner thinks of as BD. If the average practitioner can't tell the difference - why do you think that the average westerner can tell the difference. Indeed the average westerner will think that AmCab is absolutely the real thing and not egyptian because what they expect is flashy tricks - and not the playful effortless of a real egyptian dance. You see comments on youtube slating the real thing.
But I did not want to say that either you or I would really wish to say that AmCab is inherently inferior. I only wished to point out where your position runs into difficulties.
You have not picked up my point. Many dancers can't tell the difference, or are earnestly aspiring to be the real thing but missing. Even among the dance community, opinions on who does or does not bdance egyptian style vary wildly. How come you think that the general public is more informed than the dancers!
Again, I agree with you completely. I admire your courage in standing up for your beliefs as you do also. When someone doesn't understand what you're saying (which can happen often online) it can get ugly. :ODear Tegan,
Thank you!! It's good to know that there are others who feel like I do about clearly defining what we are doing. I think it is important, not only for rhe preservations of ethnic forms, but so that our audeinces and srudents can really have a better understanding of what we are presenting all the way around.
PS: I see you are from Whidbey Island. I live in Spokane!
Dear Tegan,Again, I agree with you completely. I admire your courage in standing up for your beliefs as you do also. When someone doesn't understand what you're saying (which can happen often online) it can get ugly. :O
I would love to meet you! Do you ever get over to this area? There's a monthly Hafla in Mount Vernon I'm hoping to attend in March. It's held the first Saturday of each month. If not, I will come to your area to meet you. I'd love to learn and compare notes with you.
Hallo there!This is just to start everyone off again. I personally would include AmCab as Bellydance.
You know, I really don't know why we in the US have such problems identifying this. Jillina is often referred to as an Egyptian style dancer, and personally I just don't see it at all.Partly because there are not an inconsiderable number of people who consider themselves to dance, or have been considered by others to dance egyptian style, when they absolutely do not in my book.
THAT is a really interesting question. I suppose it would depend on the influences UK dancers had.We don't have the equivalent of AmCab in the UK, or do we:?
Yep. Me too. I had the same experience. My pivotal turning point was seeing Sohair Zaki on video and thinking WTF? Why am I not dancing like THAT!My first teacher advertised that she taught Egyptian dance, but when I saw an egyptian dancer, I was just blown away. I don't consider said teacher to be egyptian style, but she obviously does.
In its originating culture, ANY dance will borrow from other influences. Flamenco did/does this, bellydance did this (Taheyya KARIOCA's last name wasn't really Karioca). Egyptians didn't invent the electric guitar, but you find it in their orchestras now.If an egyptian dancer borrows a move from an AmCab dancer, is that move now bellydance.
Probably. Some say no, but most say probably. You can learn to dance "without an accent." The question to be asked is, is that important to YOU? Or can you be satisfied being "Oriental Enough."Can I learn egyptian dance without transforming it into a western version?
I hedge my bets and say I do "Egyptian Flavored belly dance" unless I'm doing some kind of Reda choroegraphy. For Am Cab "purists" it has a vry specific movement vocabulary, the music is specific, and the routine itself has a structure. Most people call what you're talking about "Westernized Egyptian." Or you can use Egyptian TECHNIQUE without actually dancing in that relaxed Egyptian STYLE. I think the Technique and the Style are two different animals.If someone tries passionately to copy egyptian style but just doesn't quite get it, are they trying to bellydance but only achieving AmCab.
I don't think Am Cab implies a value judgement, because I think "Am Cab" is a direct response to the music that the dance grew up around, and as far as "authenticity" is concerned, for me that's what authenticity means. Is Am Cab an actual ethnic dance done by Egyptians? I don't think you could call it that, no. But does that mean it's somehow "lesser" or inferior because of that -- well, no I don't think so.Does this make AmCab a lesser dance.
Oh dear, we HAVE we HAVE we HAVE had that discussion MANY MANY times -- we just didn't get around to arguing about it in detail about it in THIS thread, cause that wasn't really the point of this thread originally.It is very interesting to me that we have had a long argument about whether the term bellydance can include AmCab without any attempt to look at what makes egyptian style, egyptian style.